Postre Chaja “Pavlova”

April 4, 2013

Postre Chaja

Hi! So just to update you on my life…

“I’m totally not dead. Beers for all!”

But cheers for the concern. I wish I had a glamorous story to explain my five-week hiatus (a new record oops) but alas it was nothing more than the usual blah blah busy with work blah blah no blog mojo blah blah I rather watch TV blah. It’s all incredibly lame and boring so I’m just going to hit the skip button and get straight into the next chapter.

Which is this.

Postre Chaja

A Uruguayan dessert called (and I’m so glad I don’t have to pronounce this out loud for anyone), Postre Chaja; a delicious jumble of meringue, cake, cream, dulce de leche, nuts and fruit. To paint a more sordid picture, basically a trifle and an eton mess hooked up on one sunny day for a bit of nudge-nudge wink-wink. Those cheeky kids.

I love this dessert. Yes even with the meringue, the one sweet treat that I’ve always lumped into my ‘hate-eat’ basket.

Postre Chaja

Traditionally it’s made with a basic sponge cake and tinned peaches but I strayed a little and changed it up to a flourless hazelnut cake, fresh peaches and brown sugar meringue (which takes a normally boring meringue into a whole new level). And I saw this version on Gourmet Traveller and thought hell yeah mangoes! Yes tropical fruits are so last season and comes with a heftier price tag but heck, I wasn’t ready to let go of summer yet (although I recently took my first hot shower in yonks, chucked on a fluffy hoodie and it was just ah-mazing).

I actually made this aaaages ago so this post is long overdue but it seems a fitting (and belated) farewell to summer. I just stocked up on autumn fruits recently (hello quinces!) and I can’t wait to get stuck into more hearty and warming desserts. Promise I’ll come back before the season ends :)

Postre Chaja

Postre Chaja
Serves 4
Traditionally a dessert from Uruguay that is a cross between an eton mess, pavlova and trifle. Makes about 4 large or 6 small serves.
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Brown Sugar Meringue
  1. 3 egg whites
  2. 85g dark brown sugar (or light if that's what you have)
  3. 80g caster sugar
  4. 1 tsp cornflour (cornstarch)
  5. 1/4 tsp white vinegar
Flourless Hazelnut Sponge
  1. 4 large eggs, room temperature
  2. 100g caster sugar
  3. 120g hazelnut meal (finely ground hazelnuts)
  4. 60g butter, melted
To finish
  1. 1 large mango
  2. 2 yellow peaches or nectarines
  3. 150g caster sugar
  4. 150ml water
  5. 300ml double cream
  6. 1 Tbl of caster sugar (or to taste)
  7. 1 tsp vanilla bean paste
  8. 200g dulce de leche
Brown Sugar Meringue
  1. Preheat oven to 100°C and line a baking tray with baking paper. In your stand mixer with a whisk attachment, whip up the egg whites with a pinch of salt until foamy and soft peaks. Then gradually add in the sugars, a heaped tablespoon at the time, and whip until thick, smooth and glossy (if you pinch a little meringue between your fingers it shouldn't feel gritty with sugar granules. If it does, keep whipping until all of the sugar has dissolved).
  2. With a large metal ladle or spoon, dollop about 8 mounds of meringue on the tray, leaving about a centimetre space in between. Bake for about 2 hours at 100°C or until the meringues are crisp but uncoloured (if you tap the tops, it should sound hollow).
  3. Switch off the oven, leave the oven door slightly ajar (use a wooden spoon handle to wedge the door open) and leave meringues to cool completely in the oven. Store in an airtight container.
Flourless Hazelnut Sponge
  1. Preheat oven to 170°C then grease and line a 22-23cm square cake tin. With a stand mixer, whisk the eggs and sugar until very thick and tripled in volume. Fold in the hazelnut meal then fold in the melted butter until just mixed. Scrape into tin and bake for 20-25 minutes or until the centre springs back when lightly pressed. Cool in tin then turn out onto a wire rack. Cut into small squares or break into pieces and store in an airtight container.
To finish
  1. For the fruits, peel mango and remove the seed (keep it) then slice into thin wedges. Cut peaches or nectarines in half, remove stone then slice into wedges.
  2. In a pan, add the sugar and water then stir over medium heat until the sugar has dissolved. Bring to a boil for a minute then remove from heat. Add in the sliced mangoes and peaches and chill in the fridge until needed (note - if your fruits are super ripe and soft then feel free to skip this step and just use the fruits raw and fresh).
  3. Whip up the double cream, sugar and vanilla until soft peaks then set aside in the fridge. Lightly whisk up your dulce de leche until loosened and holds soft peaks.
  4. To assemble, layer the sponge, fruits, dulce de leche, cream and meringue on plates or dessert glasses, a large serving bowl (like a trifle) or jumble it all together in whatever order you like in small bowls (like an eton mess).
  1. Minorly adapted from a recipe on Gourmet Traveller
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